Say goodbye to Martha Johnson. Last week, she was forced to resign as chief of the General Services Administration, the federal agency that manages real estate for the government.Somehow Johnson managed to spend an incredible $820,000 for a conference outside of Las Vegas. Among the expenditures she OK'd: $31,000 for a "networking reception," $146,000 for catered food and drinks, as well as $130,000 in expenses to "scout" the conference's hotel location. Apparently, Johnson's advance team had to travel to Vegas six times to get a handle on where best to discuss GSA business. Somebody had to do it.
In her resignation letter, Johnson acknowledged "a significant misstep."
President Obama's chief of staff, Jacob Lew, says Obama "was outraged by the excessive spending."
Oh, yeah? Has he seen the federal budget lately?
This all ties in together. Federal bureaucrats know that tax dollars roll in no matter what. It's the law. If you don't want to wind up in the penitentiary like Wesley Snipes, you pay what the feds tell you to pay. And Johnson gets a taste.
After all, what's the big deal? The Obama administration is the biggest spending outfit in the history of the country. Why shouldn't federal employees eat shrimp at $4 a piece at a cocktail party? If the rich guys would only pay their fair share in taxes, they could swallow even more shellfish.
I love the shrimp deal. A quick check with ShopRite confirms that one shrimp in that grocery chain sells for 30 cents. Peeled. But at the GSA bash, the shrimp was on a platter, so there's that. By the way, the cheese display at that party cost $19 per person, and the sushi station was another $7,000. And just in case the federal employees were hungry the next morning, breakfast was $44 per person. Egg McMuffins, anyone?
In case you haven't noticed, Obama is fighting hard against cutting federal spending. He is now calling Congressman Paul Ryan's austere budget proposal "Darwinism." Obama contends that if the feds don't continue to fund the money train, some folks will be denied the American Dream. Like eating $4 shrimp.
But my dreams have turned to nightmares with folks working for the federal government purloining my wallet and running wild in Vegas. This causes me to toss and turn because I have worked very hard for the money they are wasting. Yet the president still tells me that I am not paying my fair share.
So, how about this trade-off, Mr. President? I'll stop whining about taxes if you order all future federal "conferences" to be held at a ShopRite. Fair?
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama."